Security & Fraud

Equifax Bought An Identity Protection Service Just Before Disclosing The Breach

Already facing so many questions about a breach that sent much of the U.S. adult population’s personal information into the hands of hackers worldwide, Equifax now gets to answer a whole new set of questions about why exactly it bought an identification protection service called ID Watchdog on Aug. 10 — two weeks after Equifax found the breach, but a month before telling anyone about it.

ID Watchdog, founded in 2005, is a Denver-based firm that monitors consumer credit and provides identity theft notifications for consumers — for $15-$25 per month. A month ago, Equifax noted that it had purchased the company for $62 million. It neglected to note at the time that the choice might have been motivated by the fact that its systems had been infiltrated and that it had gotten nearly literally everyone in the nation hacked.

They may not have thought it was relevant.

Instead, what they said at the time was as follows:

“We are excited to have ID Watchdog’s industry-leading products become an important part of our organization,” said Dann Adams, president of Global Consumer Solutions at Equifax, in a statement. “Merging our identity solutions and industry relationships will significantly increase the access, range, and depth of our employee benefits solutions.”

Still, the fact that they bought up that ID monitoring service does mean that they will spend less on the free credit monitoring services they have offered the victims of the crime.

Among the many, many parties dissatisfied with Equifax this days — law enforcement agencies in about 40 states are investigating how the company conducted itself in the run up to the breach reveal. Three execs seems to have sold off extensive stock soon after the breach was discovered — but Equifax maintains that was a coincidence, since the execs in question did not know about the breach.

There are also more than two dozen lawsuits that have been filed by consumers.

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